Claiming life insurance

If the deceased had a life insurance policy you won't need grant of probate or letters of administration to activate the pay-out. Simply send an official copy of the death certificate along with the original policy document. If the original policy document can't be found, then fill out a lost policy indemnity form, available from the insurer.

If the policy doesn't clearly state the date of birth of the deceased, you may have to send a copy of the birth certificate, too.

If the life insurance policy is written in trust, then it may pay out directly to the named person. If the policy is not written in trust, it forms part of the estate for inheritance tax purposes and should be included in Form IHT 200. Alternatively, the policy may be written so that it pays out to a creditor such as a mortgage lender.

If the life insurance policy was a with-profits policy, an investment bonus payment may be due on top of the standard pay-out on the death of the policyholder.

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